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No going back on January- December budget cycle from 2020 – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Friday assured that come 2020, Nigeria will revert to the January to December budget cycle.

This is just as all government Parastatals, including, Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs have been given presidential mandate to get the 2020 budget ready for submission by the end of this Month.

Presidency had in clear demonstration of strong commitments to meet the National Assembly’s deadline to get the budget as early as the September, shelved last Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council FEC meeting to enable the MDAs put the budget together for FEC considerations next week.

Gbajabiamila speaking with State House Correspondents after an engagement with President Muhammmadu Buhari on Friday, noted that such engagement with mr President is part of his national duties on normal day
The House of Representatives Speaker said the issue of early submission of the budget was discussed as part of plans to return Nigeria to the January to December budget cycle , aimed at enhancing public sector performance and effective budget monitoring

According to him, “We discussed the issue of the budget. As you are aware, we want to bring the budget circle back to what it use to be, January to December and the only way to do that is for an early presentation of the budget and we have discussed that.
The issues of security and the recent $9. 6billion judgement Debt award against Nigeria, also featured during the discussions, which the Speaker said does not give cause for smiles.

“ I say that with a smile but not really smiling. Clearly we are in opposition to that and steps will be taken”
“I cannot give you a definite answer but I know the budget is going to come as early as possible. It maybe the end of this month or shortly thereafter, but I cannot give you and definite date.
“But it’s going to be an early presentation so that we can pass the budget before the end of the year and return to the January to December circle.”

“ But as you are aware, these are not normal days. The country in the last few days has  witnessed unfortunate incidence in the last few days in South Africa”

The Speaker who cut short his trip to Tanzania to return to Nigeria, following the Xenophobic crises in South Africa, stated that his return was to enable him, “reconvene the House, so that we can discuss this very important issue. We have called that off because events have overtaken, the government has taken proactive steps, the same we would have taken”

He disclosed that the National Assembly is on the same page with the president and the government.
“So I came to fully discussed that with Mr. President and other national issues that require the attention of both the legislature and the executive, and  we had very fruitful discussions on those issues.”

On whether Nigeria is considering cutting diplomatic relations with South Africa, the Speaker stated that “ We are not there yet but nothing is off the table, we will take each day as it comes. As of now mr President has proactive steps in evacuating  our citizens using recalling the high commissioner, we will stand with and by Nigerians. We have issued a statement today and is in tandem with wha the executive is doing and we stand by our citizens.

“Our priorities is to protect the welfare of our citizens and that is exactly what we are doing and that is what the president is doing.
Also reacting to statement credited to the government of South Africa, that it will not pay compensation to victims of the xenophobic attacks, the Speaker said Nigeria will react appropriately when the South African government makes it official

“I don’t know if that statement is official or a off the cuff statement by somebody. When it’s official we will take further steps. After the delegation in South Africa I’m there  are probably other avenues that are international that we can pursue.

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